In this crew, I am the only early riser, so I have been waking up around 640 and reading, eating breakfast, and walking around the grounds. In Anchorage, I walked down to Resolution Park which overlooks the Cook Inlet. Pretty views of the surrounding mountain range, and a huge tide that leaves miles of mud flats at low tide. Met up with the rest of the crew as we boarded the bus for 3 hr drive North. Tom and I listened to an audio book so we could keep our eyes on the scenery. Our driver told some great stories about his encounters with bears and moose.
We arrived at the lodge and grabbed a quick to go lunch before hopping on the shuttle for an hour long ride to the town of Talkeetna, where all of the excursions are based. It was frustrating because we had driven near Talkeetna on the way in, and had we been in our own car, not the group tour, transport would be much more efficient. The views of the mountains from the lodge were outstanding and there are several hiking trails around the property.
|Tom posing in front of the best view from the main lodge|
We got to town and scouted a place for dinner, then walked about 15 minutes to the Talkeetna Air Taxi offices near the airport. We had arranged a 2.5 hr flight that went all around the mountain and landed on the Ruth Glacier halfway through. The flight was outstanding! We all loved getting to see the jagged peaks and snow capped mountains up close. My dad, who has a private pilot's license, would love flying up here. It was fascinating to watch us circle, looking for lift to be able to climb high enough to fly out of the low spots. Everyone keeps telling us how lucky we are that the mountain is showing all the way from the base to the tip. It only happens a few days a year. We saw all 20,430 ft, and landed near base camp at 12,000 ft.
|I think we found our Christmas card!|
After the flight, we went to Denali Brewing Co for dinner where we enjoyed local microbrews, fresh fish, and reindeer meatloaf. John who has been in Australia all summer where the drinking age is 18, is slightly frustrated that he cannot enjoy the beers with us as he turns 21 in October. After a nice evening on the stone patio, we caught the 730 shuttle back to the lodge.
|Cold beer and good conversations at the Denali Brewing Co. patio|
|11 pm and the sun still has not completely set across the Denali range|
Tuesday morning we take a train across the backwoods to the entrance of Denali National Park.